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(Español) El Indecente

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No, Reading Won’t Make You A Better Person

Reading - Michael ThalliumNo, reading won’t make you a better person. My life has been full of travelling and books, but this hasn’t made me a better person. My life has also been replete —although not complete— with music. I have been encouraging reading, disseminating music and sharing my knowledge —much or little; probably negligible— for many years. I have experienced and managed some emergency situations in my years on cruise and expedition ships. One of my phrases back then was: «A ship reflects what is happening in the world, she is a small world of her own; the difference is that, on a ship, everybody gets their salary by the end of the month». Yes, ships may sink, but it’s very unlikely that that happens…

Another one of my phrases, which has been accompanying me for a big deal of my life is: Why won’t people read more? For some time my answer was: «It’s normal that people don’t read; the lives they live, the lack of time, the family chores and occupations of all kinds don’t allow them to do so». Well, it seems that now, in March 2020, a new situation occurring in the world might give an answer to that question. A microscopic particle —a toxine, an invisible venom— has made millions of people to be confined to our homes, to lose our paid jobs, and this may temporarily leave us with more time to read. Will people read more books? My opinion is they won’t. Reading, apart from the time it requires, it also requires considerable intelectual effort. Over the last years, I have come to think that more than a habit, reading is an attitude and who knows if it’s also an aptitude. Anyhow, reading won’t make us better persons. Then, why encouraging to read? To discern. Discernment leads to critical thinking —not judgemental neither querulant— and precisely that critical thinking saved my life in the emergency situations I went through on ships. So, read to save your lives even if that takes you a bunch of years!

P. S.: Change the word ‘reading’ for ‘music’ and the result will be quite much the same (but that’s another story).

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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(Español) Carta breve a Miguel d’Ors

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(Español) Treinta años de un artista – 30 años de Mikhail Pochekin

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Perspective 650,000 Revisited

I wrote Perspective 650,000 five years ago. Little by little, but relentlessly, time puts every thing in its place. When I read the text some weeks ago, I made my mind up and said to myself that I had to record my own voice and create a spoken version to preserve a reflection on life and humans that, to me, still sounds perfectly right:

PERSPECTIVE 650,000 REVISITED

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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February 29: Rare Disease Day – ACTAYS – Tay Sachs

ACTAYS Acción y cura

On December 21st 2019, the Pochekin brothers offered a charity concert at Auditorio Sony of Reina Sofía School of Music in Madrid (ESMRS) de Madrid, Spain. Mikhail & Ivan Pochekin donated their concert for the benefit of ACTAYS and children with neurological diseases at Hospital del Niño Jesús in Madrid.

This charity project was sponsored by Allianz Partners Spain in collaboration with the ESMRS.

ACTAYS helps families with children suffering from Tay Sachs, a rare disease which, so far, is fatal. February 29th is the Rare Disease Day. #RareDiseaseDay

The following works were played:

- Passacaglia in G minor by Georg Friedrich Händel in a transcription for violín and viola by Johan Halvorsen.
- Duo for violin and viola in G major KV423 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
- Asturias by Isaac Albéniz in a transcription for violin solo by Mikhail Pochekin.
- Caprices for violin solo Nos. 10 & 24 by Niccolò Paganini.
- Sonata for two violins op. 56 by Sergey Prokofiev.
- Encores: Duo for two violins no. 1 op. 49 by Reinhold Glière (minute 1:07:16) & Silent Night.

I am Michael Thallium, in search for people’s greatness

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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(Español) Entrevista con Arturo Reverter – Beethoven: un retrato vienés

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The Art of Ivan Pochekin

I first got to know about him through the cat eyes of his younger brother Mikhail. There is no better letter of introduction than that one of a brother who admires you and respects you, someone who really cares. Since that snowy Sunday morning when I met Mikhail, I knew that the art of Ivan Pochekin had to be something extraordinary. First there were the comments of affection, then the recordings that Mikhail gave me so that I could listen to his brother play the viola and the violin. A year went by until I finally could meet him in person. Before that I had already met the mother and the father of these two musical brothers: Elena and Yuri. They are all a family where art and music flood everything. I saw Ivan for the first time when Mikhail presented his recording of the six Bach’s Partitas & Sonatas for violin solo at Ateneo in Madrid. Ivan and I did not exchange many words back then, but Mikhail had already instilled into me that sincere admiration you feel when you face the artisan, the artist, the true musician who not only plays an instrument, but who also understands music and conveys its in-depth message to anyone who can listen to it. Then some more months went by, maybe half a year, until I saw him again in Madrid. It was Christmas time. Ivan, Mikhail and I had embarked for nine months on a charity adventure to raise funds for the benefit of ACTAYS and the children with neurological diseases at Hospital del Niño Jesús in Madrid. Both brothers offered a concert which will remain in the minds and hearts of all those people who went to the Sony Auditorium in Madrid on that Saturday, 21 December 2019.

Then I had the chance to get to know Ivan a little better. And I realised that in the artist you can also find an easy going and friendly man. Just like I do —and this is something we both “dangerously” love— Ivan loves good food and a good conversation over a good glass of wine. Ivan is human! Many times we are dazzled by an artist of Ivan Pochekin’s virtuoso calibre. You can see him slide his left hand up and down either on a violin or on a viola neck with an astonishing finger precision while his right hand conjures the bow drawing the strings with bewitching movements that create sounds, from the most horrible and piercing to the most beautiful and extraordinary, without apparent effort. Ivan Pochekin combines the colours and hues of his sound palette with exceptional mastery and creates those musical canvases in melodious oil paint which move and touch the deepest of the listener’s soul. Ivan transforms the stage into an artisan’s workshop where the entrails of sound are forged and the work of art emerges.

Great Music & Performers - Ivan Pochekin - Shostakovich

Now, the last thing of Ivan that I put my hands and ears on is the recording of the two violin concertos by Dmitry Shostakovich. The music of Shostakovich is not nice. It’s pungent, hopeless, breathtaking and only sometimes beautiful. Surely, there will come musicologists and specialists who will write about this album and about the art of Ivan Pochekin. They will give their opinions and they will make it big or ignore it according to their musical tastes and knowledge. As far as I am concerned, the sincerest homage I can pay to the artist is to say that the words of admiration, respect and affection that one day his younger brother Mikhail instilled into me are given sense anew today, because Ivan Pochekin’s recording of the two Shostakovich’s violin concertos will be, for years to come, the recording of reference.

Michael Thallium

Global & Greatness Coach
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(Español) Lola

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(Español) Grandes libros y escritores que recomiendo II – Ramón Gómez de la Serna

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